“Joyeux Noël”, exclaimed Papa Noel as he entered each ward at St. Damien Hospital on Christmas Eve. Thanks to a group of Haitian and American volunteers, each child in the hospital received a Christmas gift bag with toys and clothing. The children were very excited to see Papa Noel as he visited each crib and bed to personally say “Joyeux Noël” and hello to every child while handing them their own Christmas gift bag. One little girl immediately pulled a baby doll out of her bag and put it on her shoulder to burp and comfort it. Some just held onto their bag and didn’t let go! After the gifts were distributed, Papa Noel handed out stuffed animals and a candy canes to all of the children waiting to be seen in the outpatient clinic. The hospital staff who worked both the day and night shifts received a special Christmas snack to thank them for their hard work all year.
After Papa Noel delivered all the Christmas bags on Christmas Eve, activities were provided for the children who were ambulatory. The playroom quickly filled up with eager children, some in their new clothes, making necklaces and bracelets out of colorful pipe cleaners and foam beads, coloring and making pictures with stickers and playing games like bowling and tossing balls.
On Christmas day, the volunteers returned again to the hospital and rounded up the children for movie time. The outpatient clinic waiting room was turned into a movie theater with Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch along with popcorn and popsicles!
“It was a wonderful experience to be able to give a little piece of joy to these children, some of whom did not have visitors on Christmas Eve and Christmas day,” said one volunteer.
This entire event was realized through donations and volunteers. In total over 200 children received gifts.